New Humanitarians: We Must Start Where We Are
Part 1/3 – Look Where It’s Already Happening
By Shayne Laughter, ©2019
It’s been fun waiting on the RV!
That’s only partly sarcastic.
Frankly, I’ve needed the waiting time to allow my plans and visions to evolve. One thing that occurred to me is this: no matter how much unimaginable Ultra High Net Worth we have at the end of our exchange meetings, when we walk back out into the world, all of the suffering and challenge and devastation will still be there.
The forests in ashes, the plastic in the ocean, the human trafficking, the addictions and abuse and violence. The habits of human thinking. This, my New Humanitarian friends, is the ground where we start.
As soon as it dawned on me just how much I had to expand my vision, I dropped the idea of founding a non-profit service organization. That just seemed too small of an effort. And frankly, I’ve done enough work in non-profit administrative roles, both volunteer and professional.
Instead, I realized that there are thousands of organizations already at work on these problems. Supporting them is the way to accelerate and multiply the work already being done. In other words, my job as a New Humanitarian is not to lead an organization, but to ignite a network.
Here is a brief to-do list, for myself and other New Humanitarians:
1. Find the people who are already doing the work of saving the world – and support them.
2. Support them so that the entire network of organizations focused on that problem is ignited, empowered, and accelerated.
3. Ask each organization individually, “What would you be able to do, if money were no object?”
4. Gather all of the organizations’ decision-makers together, and ask them as a group, “What would you all be able to accomplish, if you weren’t competing with each other for the same State, Federal and Foundation money? What would you all be able to accomplish together, if you were to cooperate and coordinate in an environment of abundance, rather than compete in an environment of scarcity?”
5. Ask the organizations in that field, “What kind of tools would allow all of you to coordinate service, training, supplies, impact analysis, innovations and recognition?”
6. Listen to their answers. Have your staff analyze the discussions for common threads of meaning, concern and possible innovations. Support developing the tools (software, trainings, media, etc.) and spread them around.
7. Allow the network to lead its own development. Step back. Let the people doing the work have ownership and accountability to one another.
I mentioned up above that I am a longtime volunteer and professional in the public sector. I’ve learned how to search for and follow people already doing the work of saving the world, via social media profiles on LinkedIn.com and Twitter.com.
Twitter brought to my attention a non-profit leader based in Seattle, Mr. Vu Le. This is an article he wrote for his blog, that has an important message for New Humanitarians who want to make philanthropy more effective for saving and renewing the world.
Reading this article, I discover that Conservative funding methods are exactly what I want to do for the organizations tackling our planet’s suffering. I thought I was being crazy, but I’m just a Conservative with a Galactic, Earth-loving heart!
A tool is a tool. If Conservative tactics are what is needed to make sure that humanitarian networks have enough support, and feel safe cooperating for accelerated impact, then I’ll use that tool!
I have found that this decentralized approach – to get the focus off of what I am going to do, and instead direct support to what the network is capable of doing – has removed most of the sense of burden from me, regarding this wealth and being a New Humanitarian.
(Continued in Part 2, tomorrow.)